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Kate Deming Suspense Series Book Two
BY ANN DOMINGUEZ
Dr. Kate Deming is now an emergency medicine intern at a busy Chicago hospital. Between the drug epidemic and staff shortages, tensions in the emergency department run high. Kate befriends a homeless veteran who lives in her alley, but she can’t tell which of the voices he hears are real. When he disappears from the ED during a treatment, Kate’s search for him pulls her into a thirty year-old vendetta and jeopardizes her job, her marriage and her life.
Before I made it to the desk, room twenty-three exploded with shouting. The medical student stumbled out backward, tripping on his own feet, and I heard the Mayo stand clatter to the floor. Another shriek followed, and the curtain came down around Dr. Rao. The patient jumped on top of him, and I scrambled for the panic button under the desk. I knew the whole point of the panic button was its silence, but that mattered only if it worked. Ours did nothing. No flood of security officers came from the main hospital or outside. There was no siren and no flashing lights, though maybe I didn’t know where to look. I ran around the corner, where a cop sat dozing outside the room with the jail clearance patient. “Help,” I said. “We need you—”
He struggled to his feet, said something to his partner, sitting next to the incarcerated patient, and hurried behind me to where Dr. Rao’s patient had gone berserk.
“Get off me!” someone shouted, and Dr. Rao crashed to the floor again with a smack that made me wince. He extricated himself with difficulty from the curtain and turned back toward the patient. Carl hustled down the hall and dove into the room. From where I stood, it looked like a cross between a Code and a bar brawl. Above me, several patient alarms beeped and chimed. I picked up the phone to call for hospital security.
My patient streaked past me, his IV pole clattering behind until it caught on the desk, toppled, and stopped. His IV ripped out of his arm, and he turned around, shouting unintelligible nonsense. No one had picked up the phone in Security. I hit speaker in hopes that when they did answer, they would hear the chaos and come to help. “Jeffrey,” I said, putting the headset down and walking slowly toward him, “it’s all right.”
He crouched with his arms out, blood dripping from his left hand onto the linoleum, and his eyes widened at me.
“Let me help you get back to your room. You’re bleeding.” He was wound tight as a spring, and I stood very still not to frighten him further.
With a loud cry, he lunged at me. I had barely enough time to dive around the desk. Jeffrey got his hands on my shoulders and shook me hard enough to smack my ponytail on the floor. His bloodshot eyes stared unblinking as I yelled for help, and the veins in his neck bulged.
“Stop it! Stop!” Heart pounding, I wedged a knee up to increase the distance between us. Even drug-wasted and dehydrated, he had twenty pounds on me, and I couldn’t budge him. “Stop it!”
He put his hands around my throat. “Demon! You demon!”
I managed to grab his wrists, though the blood on his left made my grip precarious. I didn’t have the leverage to pull them off my neck, but I wasn’t in danger of suffocating. “Help!”
I saw a flash of green, and then Jeffrey flew off me. Jack had picked him up and swung him around, prone, on the floor. I fought the urge to cry and sat up, my head spinning. Jack had a knee in the patient’s back and his hands in a tight grip. Looking back over his shoulder at me, Jack asked, “Is that your blood or his?”
“His, I think.” Both my neck and my palm were sticky with it. If I hadn’t been so dizzy, I would have run to the sink. My breath came loud and harsh, and a wave of adrenaline-induced heat flooded me, too late to do any good. The damp of the cellar in which my sister and I had been trapped six months ago came back to me, and I kept my eyes open, trying to convince my panicking mind that I was in familiar surroundings. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
He waved off my gratitude. “Where are the police? Damned broken panic button. They have to fix that.” The security guards arrived with a slapping of heavy soles. “About time,” Jack said. They bent down to pick Jeffrey up, but the patient managed a last, vicious kick that sent Jack stumbling back toward me. I broke his fall as best I could, but he still hit the desk with enough force to rattle us both.
“None of that,” the guard said, twisting the patient’s wrist hard behind him. “Which room was he in?”
“Twenty-one.” I pointed with a shaking hand. Jack looked sideways at me but made no effort to get up. Behind us, the shouting in Dr. Rao’s room abated for a second. “What happened in there?”
Jack shook his head. “They were too close to Taser him, so he smashed everyone and everyone in sight. Stupid kids.” A muscle in his jaw pulsed. I tried not to stare. “Are you ready to stand up?”
I couldn’t believe he couldn’t hear my heart pounding like the patient was still after me. Either I was really out of shape, or I was really rattled. Or it was the Jack effect, which I had sworn off last spring. “Is it time to go home yet?”
Ann’s writing career began in first grade with a piece of Curious George fan fiction. Since then, she has published in JAMA, The Christian Science Monitor, Medical Economics, The Well, Venn Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Her medical thriller, The Match, won Best Mystery/Suspense in the 2009 Colorado Gold contest hosted by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Lost Things, book two of her Kate Deming Suspense series, hits the shelves in January, 2018.
Ann’s medical adventures have taken her from Chicago to Haiti, Thailand, Guatemala and most recently, Denver. Someday she hopes to finish a cup of tea before it gets cold.
Links to Ann’s website, blog, books, etc.
ISBN (paper) ISBN: 978-1979-6176-8-0
Thanks, Ann, for sharing your book with us!
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